Who are we?


The ACOS Alliance (A Culture Of Safety Alliance) is an unprecedented coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices for freelance and local journalists worldwide.  

The Freelance Journalist Safety Principles are at the heart of this joint initiative. The Principles are a comprehensive set of practices aimed at embedding a culture of safety across newsrooms and journalists worldwide.  


The Alliance works in conjunction with its sponsor, the Overseas Press Club Foundation.  


How did we come about?


The brutal killings of freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in the summer of 2014 shocked many newsrooms and set in motion a chain of events that culminated in the creation of ACOS.

In September 2014, a group of editors held private meetings in New York and Chicago to discuss how to respond to these murders and promote freelance journalists’ safety. During the following months, a volunteer committee made up of representatives of the Frontline Freelance Register, Reuters, The Associated Press, the Dart Center, GroundTruth Project and the Overseas Press Club drafted the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles, a document aimed at news organizations and freelancers alike that outlines a set of safety standards that freelancers and local journalists should be able to expect as a standard work environment.

The six organizations whose representatives drafted the principles became the document’s first signatories. Soon after, the ACOS Alliance was created based on the importance of widely implementing these principles. Several other organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Frontline Freelance Register, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, Reporters without Borders and the Rory Peck Trust were involved in the creation of the Alliance.


Board of Directors

The ACOS Alliance board of directors is comprised of representatives from news organizations, press freedom NGOs and the freelance community. They are actively involved in our initiatives and provide strategic guidance to the Alliance.



Maria Salazar-Ferro
Emergencies Director, Committee to Protect Journalists


Andréa Schmidt 
Freelance Journalist and Independent Filmmaker


Jason Reich
Vice President of Corporate Security, The New York Times 


Mike Christie
General Manager, Global Logistics & Security, Thomson Reuters 

John Daniszewski
Vice President for Standards, Editor at Large, The Associated Press 

Anna Therese Day
Freelance Journalist & Frontline Freelance Register Board Member 

Mathias Dreissig
Editor, Deutsche Welle News 

Brigitte Dusseau
Director, Agence France-Presse North America 

Sally Fitton
High Risk Advisor, BBC

Diane Foley
Founder and President, James W. Foley Legacy Foundation 

Sarah Giaziri
Director, Frontline Freelance Register 

Bill Holstein
President, Overseas Press Club Foundation 


Elisa Lees Muñoz
Executive Director, International Women's Media Foundation 

Finbarr O'Reilly
Freelance Photographer and Writer

Clothilde Redfern
Director, Rory Peck Trust 


David Rohde,
Executive Editor for News, The New Yorker 

Art Sotloff, Founder
2LIVES Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation

Daniella Zalcman
Freelance Photographer 



  • Within journalism, foreign desks and dedicated staff jobs are on the decline, making outlets’ use of freelancers more prolific than ever.

  • Freelancers cover nearly every issue, from local interest stories to hard news for regional and national newspapers, television, radio and online outlets.

  • Many freelancers, though, travel to some of the most dangerous areas of the world to give the public a view into what is happening there.


  • Every consumer of media benefits from the reporting that comes out of conflict zones and some of the most dangerous areas of the world – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and many others in nearly every global region.

  • Without journalists and freelancers willing to commit to going to these dangerous areas, the rest of the world has no window into what happens there.

  • The work that they do, even at great personal peril, gives us all a better understanding of events in these regions and can inspire us to action.


  • Over the last two years, killings, imprisonments, and abductions of journalists have reached historic highs. These attacks represent a fundamental threat not only to individual news professionals, but to the practice of independent journalism itself.

  • Locally-based journalists face the largest threat and endure the vast majority of murders, imprisonments, and abductions.

  • Freelance journalists, who travel to these areas to report for any number of news organizations, also face untold amounts of danger in pursuit of their craft.

  • The ACOS Alliance calls on governments, combatants, and groups worldwide to respect the neutrality of journalists and immediately end the cycle of impunity surrounding attacks on journalists.